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War and Churnalism

I can’t comprehend this world sometimes. Recent events have proven once again that we are living in a society way down the rabbit hole. I didn’t hear about the murder – you know the one – until late in the day. I ended up watching the footage on a youtube piece without realising just how unpleasant it was (and without adequate warning – for all the good that would have done).

It’s bad enough that religion lends itself to the ease with which some can resort to the most heinous of actions. These are people who are clearly already quite far gone. But it’s another thing entirely to comprehend the media reaction to all of this. Every newspaper come the following morning screamed at me in every shop or newsstand like the anger of the killers themselves. The footage was freely available as was the subsequent ‘exclusive’ of the police shooting that followed, made worse as I only heard the audio version on the BBC which leaves everything to the imagination.

It is like a horror film, except the quality of the images and footage, blurry and low resolution taken in media res, makes everything worse. Lacking the high gloss sheen of Hollywood it becomes more visceral.

Of course this has provoked the usual and predictable questioning of immigration, integration and Islam. The same debates are fired up again with the same tired points made by the same tired people over and over again. We are back at the beginning of the circle that probably predates 9/11. We still seem to think we can bomb and ideology. Instead of examining foreign policy, the politicians invited to discuss this horrible event response further polarises their part in this circle of violence: we must steel our resolve and ‘get the job done’ in Afghanistan. All the while we ignore the fact that this justifies, in the minds of these killers, their actions. If they didn’t feel justified they wouldn’t do it. But to question the disastrous military invasions of the last decade is, in the minds of our simple minded media and their political allies, to make excuses for this murder. So long as this thinking persists, nothing will change.

Meanwhile the newspapers are filled with the most appalling rhetoric. The word hero is bandied about to the point it has now lost all meaning while the killers are portrayed in terms that easily set them apart from the readership. The killer was a ‘drug fuelled waster’, while Trevor Kavanagh disgustingly blames the welfare state for allowing people the freedom and time to lounge around in their bedrooms reading inflammatory websites. Curiously he uses religious language to enforce his point: “the devil makes work for idle hands”. So the solution to religious extremism is to make people work for nothing of course. Sadly when this point was raised, not one person objected. No one reacted. No one spoke out. That is how deeply the likes of the Sun have programmed society. Instead of rational examination and a call for understanding and tolerance, it's just more hate. This media are intellectual terrorists in my opinion, waging war for and inside our collective psyche.

Soldiers are heroes and swarthy foreigners with strange names and beliefs are the enemy. This is an ideological war and it’s no less terrorism being committed by the vile press we have in this country than an act of murder on the street. One is simply more physically brutal and fatal than the other: intellectual terrorism.

Are we living in a modern version of the crusades? We are already invading these countries, strip-mining them of their assets. Why is Christianity more important or moral than Islam? Both give way to odious beliefs and practices even if Islam is a gateway to even greater levels of fanaticism. Christianity has no more genuine a claim over this country; it did not originate in its green and pleasant lands it originated in the Middle East. Its progenitors were not white Anglo Saxons. Even the Romans predate Christianity so why don’t we worship Jupiter? What about the pagan beliefs that predate that?

Meanwhile the anguish of the relatives of the deceased are broadcast on all channels and fed to us as more propaganda. This is a private matter. I find it disgusting for this to be regarded as news. It is a funeral not a public event or display. Yet the purpose is more propaganda: Help for Heroes has received huge levels of support and donation over the last couple of days. Why? Why now? If he had died in battle it wouldn’t have garnered this reaction. But he’s a hero so we cannot question his role in disastrous behaviour of the western military industrial complex. A role that has led to the deaths of thousands including children. A role he chose. While his life was bleeding out on the streets at the hands of a maniac drones were being launched against civilians in Pakistan all part of the same effort. These drones are deliberately used against first responders and family members, ‘double tapping’ their armaments to deadly and disgusting effect.

I make no excuses for the actions of terrorists, but there has to be some balance here. We are not innocent and we cannot play the victim card when our own children are freely choosing to serve in something that for ten years has been a massive mistake. No one deserves to be butchered on the street however the only way to end this misery is to cut the cycle of violence and not give in to it by calling soldiers that take part in these invasions heroes at the drop of a hat. This is just propaganda and I abhor it as much as I abhor the savage call of tribal warlords to butcher those they perceive as their enemies. We should not give them ammunition, but we are, right now (in Syria it seems), doing just that; for a profit. We must be smarter and better than this.


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